Wauseon volleyball coach Nik Encalado has a solid core of girls to work with in his first season leading the program.
“Overall I am excited for this season with this group of girls,” said Encalado. “These girls have been committed all summer and working hard to make this a great season. I think we will be ready to display all the hard work these girls have put in. This season we are looking to compete and get better week after week. These girls want to be challenged and pushed to compete with the teams on our schedule.”
Returning to the team are Marisa Seiler (second team All-Northwest Ohio Athletic League), Cameron Estep (honorable mention all-league), Aaliyah Glover (honorable mention all-league), Drue Roush, Autumn Pelok, Jazmine Barajas, Makayla Kebschull and Hayley Meyer.
They will also be adding newcomers Johanna Tester, Ella Hageman, Kaylyn Demoulin, Selena Mullins, Jocelynn St. John-Fisher and Addy Case.
“Our strengths this season is the overall experience we have returning. We have 7 seniors on this team that we will be leaning on in our key positions. Cameron Estep (OH) and Marisa Seiler (S) are connecting very well this season in our new offense. Jazmine Barajas and Aaliyah Glover have been controlling the back court and working hard as we are also inputting a new defense they have never run before. With those 4 girls I believe we have a solid core of leaders on the court at all times,” explained Encalado.
In light of Encalado installing some new systems for the Indians to run, adjusting to those could be a hurdle for the girls early on in the season.
“Our biggest weakness thus far is trying to squeeze everything in before we start the season,” said the new coach. “With this being my first season with Wauseon we are trying to input a lot of new offensive and defensive schemes some of the girls have never run before.”
Encalado wants to return the program to its championship form, like when they captured the NWOAL title back in 2018. But the league should be stout yet again.
“Our league will be competitive this year,” Encalado said. “Obviously Archbold is returning some key players who received first team honors — including Addie Ziegler who was player of the year in the NWOAL. Debbie Culler has a good program over there and I look for them to be a key team to beat this year. Swanton will have first team (all-league) setter Sofie Taylor back controlling the offense this year and I think Swanton is a team that is always competing at the top of the league. As far as where we stand, I believe this group of girls is determined to compete with the top teams in the league. We have some girls who were around when Wauseon won the league a few years back and these girls are now seniors and hoping to push for it again.”
Wauseon will open the season at Maumee on Saturday.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010.